Worst: First Of All, It’s Called ‘Hardcore Justice’
This is my third-favorite Impact Wrestling pay-per-view, behind TNA SEXY PATTYCAKE and TNA MEET MADDEN. That’s, uh, the one where they let Mark Madden do commentary.
Seriously though, ‘Hard Justice’ made it sound like a bad cop movie, and ‘Hardcore Justice’ makes it sound like a camgirl. It doesn’t help when your company’s name is TITS AND ASS, so your full show name is TITS AND ASS HARDCORE JUSTICE. They should find a way to call their Knockouts pay-per-view YOUNG CHEERLEADER SWAP N’ SWALLOW.
Best: A Fun Garbage Wrestling Match If You Turn Off Your Brain And Mute The Crowd
Larry from ‘Three’s Company’ should face Mr. Roper in a STAIRWAY TO JANET match.
So, okay, the gimmick of Hardcore Justice (besides making me sing “Hardcore Justice” to the tune of ‘Hardcore Country’) is hardcore matches. Just a bunch of hardcore matches. A night of extreme rules, one might say. In TNA, hardcore matches are generally 10-15 minutes of guys slowly setting up props for other guys to jump through. Early on in the match, a guy suddenly starts bleeding when it doesn’t make sense. If you like that, this match was pretty great.
Objectively, I kinda like what they’re doing with Bram. Abyss is so much like Kane that he’s got Kane’s “neutered, couldn’t hurt a fly” vibe, so establishing this new crazy dude who will show up to hardcore matches in his underpants and go through barbed wire boards is important. How much does Abyss have left in the tank, honestly? Did Abyss ever buy a tank? Bram’s got WWE developmental training, the perfect boring look TNA loves and the ability to fall onto a bunch of sharp shit and smile about it. If that’s marketable anywhere, it’s in the roving Impact Zone. Plus, seriously, f*ck Abyss. Everybody beats Abyss. He went from being the most compelling character on the show (Joseph Park) to being a fatter X-Pac in a Groot mask.
Worst: TNA Hardcore
I’ve probably written about it before, but “Janice” is so dumb. It’s a board with a bunch of nails in it. Getting hit by that should be INSTANT, BLOODY DEATH. If you’re going to have a Stairway To Janice match, this is how it should go down: it should slowly build and build using the idea that the wrestlers are bloodthirsty, but also terrified of what might happen to them if they don’t grab Janice first. Somebody pulls down Janice, boom, five seconds of gore and we’re out. The end.
I’m not advocating somebody taking a nailboard to the forehead, but I’ve seen hardcore wrestling. I’ve seen Tournaments of Death. I follow Big Japan as closely as I can without getting light tube dust in my eyes. If you’re gonna swing a nailboard, swing a nailboard. Don’t half-ass it. Gimmick it to death if you want, but at least put enough effort into it to create a substantial, believable-if-you-blink visual. Nail to skin. That should be the only time someone bleeds in a Stairway to Janice match, and it should be ALL THE BLOOD. It’s a weapon horrifying enough to demand its own gimmick match, right?
Instead, we get a match featuring ladder bumps, MULTIPLE barbed wire boards and a spot where Bram blades because he HIT THE RING STEPS WITH HIS SHOULDER. Just straight across the forehead on a steps bump. If hitting the steps busted you open, John Cena would be a bloodbath after every match. Then they break out thumbtacks, which are basically nails minus 100% of the damage, and do a bunch of moves onto them. By the time that we’ve bled everywhere AND stabbed each other with sharp objects, Janice gets pulled down so that we can … not bleed and NOT stab each other with sharp objects!
Like always, Abyss misses with his swings and gets hit in the stomach. Bram grabs Janice, slowly presses it into the baggiest part of Abyss’s shirt, and Abyss kinda flops over to the side holding his gut like he’s been kneed by Alistair Overeem. If you get hit in the stomach with a gigantic board of nails, your sell isn’t “oof, I’m gonna throw up,” it’s “OH GOD MY INTESTINES ARE FALLING OUT OF MY BODY SOMEONE PLEASE HELP.” It should be terror and exploding bloodpacks and prop horror movie guts everywhere. I don’t care. If you’re booking a HIT ME WITH A BOARD WITH 100 NAILS STICKING OUT OF IT match you’ve already gone bonkers. Go all of the bonkers.
Worst: Everyone On This Show Is A Horrible Person
“Hey Bram, congratulations on winning your match!”
“thanks bro it was tough”
“So hey listen I wanted to let you know that NOBODY OUTSHINES MAGNUS, I’M GUNNING FOR YOU”
“SAY IT TO MY FACE”
“Anyway, take it easy. You coming out for drinks later?”
“Maybe, gotta check and see if Velvet Sky’s had her life threatened today, if not, sure, why not?”
“Hahah what a bitch”
“I know, right? All the women here are such bitches.”
“And the men.”
“Oh definitely the men. The men are definitely bitches. Super bitches.”
“WAIT A MINUTE I’M A MAN, WHO ARE YOU CALLING A BITCH”
“I’M CALLING YOU A BITCH. I CALLS EM LIKE I SEES EM”
“hey what time is it”
“like 9:30, why?”
“shit, hang on, I need to make a phone call.”
[makes phone call]
[Bram patiently waits]
“Hey mom? It’s Magnus. NOBODY OUTSHINES ME, BITCH, I AM THE CHOSEN ONE”
(Or whatever he calls himself.)